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Visco Collection – Review

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We love a good compilation and the release of cloud-based Antstream Arcade in the summer set a high standard, scoring an impressive 88% in our review, but a new challenger has arrived with Visco Colleciton, which is a compilation of 7 arcade games from Japanese company Visco who were mostly prominent in the 90’s with a handful of releases in the late 80’s and early 2000’s.

The games included are Andro Dunos, Bang Bead, Captain Tomaday, FlipShot, Ganryu, Goal! Goal! Goal! and Neo DriftOut, so let’s take a closer look at each one.

Firstly, Andro Dunos is a side-scrolling shooter, similar to titles like R-Type, released in 1992 it’s the oldest game in this collection and can be played solo or 2-player co-operatively including online play. Considering its age it’s not bad and while it’s not quite as immersive or fluid as games like R-Type, there’s some neat touches, especially with how enemies come into play, such as flying out of a door in the background before making their way onto the main plane where your bullets will connect.
There are 4 separate weapons, each of which can be upgraded by the floating power-up’s you’ll come across, so as well as clearing the enemies, there’s the added challenge of trying to collect these power-ups at the right time so you can improve the weapons you prefer to use most.

It’s definitely not a bad shooter, and you’ll soon encounter a more bullet-hell experience especially after the first level or two, so there’s a nice challenge and the game runs smoothly without any issues, but having to tap the fire button for each individual shot, won’t do your thumb any good, and proves why so many games moved to allowing the player to hold down the button for continuous fire..

Next up is Bang Bead, a sequel to another game in this collection, “Flip Shot” which is a 2-player competitive pong battle, where you have to knock the ball beyond your opponent to destroy a number of targets, once all targets are removed the barrier opens and passing that barrier wins the round.
There’s 9 characters which cover the usual 90’s stereotypes of big butch men and over-sexualised women, you’ll have three commands at your disposal, one which knocks the ball back a little faster, another dive that covers the area you’re facing and can be crucial to preventing the ball passing and a third power-move which requires a full energy bar from the first attack, and can help clinch crucial points.
The gameplay gets repetitive pretty quick, but it’s not a bad game and the range of characters with their power-moves encourages you try each one. allowing 2 players to battle it out, as well as online play, makes this the best competitive 2 player game in the collection.

The third game in the collection is Captain Tomaday, another scrollin shooter, where you play a tomato with cool-spot like hands that can extend forwards to smash incoming enemies.
Most enemies will need multiple hits, thankfully, unlike Andro Dunos, you can at least hold down the fire button, but despite being released 7 years after Andro Dunos (in 1999), I found the former a much more engaging and enjoyable experience.
Likewise though you can play 2 player co-operative including online play, but if you had to choose just one shooter to invest time into, Captain Tomaday wouldn’t see much play for me.

Number 4 is another disappointing addition with Flip Shot (also known as Battle Flip Shot) which is the former to Bang Bead, I’m not sure why the name switched so drastically, because I feel Flip Shot is a much more memorable title, but sadly that’s about all Flip Shot has going for it when its sequel is included.

Likewise you’ll have to knock your ball beyond your opponent to destroy targets, knock down the final target to win the round, there’s no last-gasp chance to save by the open goal and there’s only 5 characters which makes Flip Shot a weaker game in just about every area and hard to recommend time with solely because the much improved sequel is only a few clicks away.

The 5th game we’re treated to is Ganryu a side-scrolling slasher similar to titles like Bad Dudes vs Dragon Ninja, you have a couple of attacks including a close-range melee slash a straight grappling hook attack that hits directly in front of your character, and more unlocked through collecting power-ups as you progress.

Released in 1999 it came quite a while after titles like Double Dragon and Bad Dudes vs Dragon Ninja (87 and 88 respectively) but being completely honest, I’d choose either of those titles every time, Ganryu isn’t a terrible game, but the ai is far too basic and predictable and when the challenge is only presented by throwing more enemies at you spawning in close vicinity, it ends up quite a frustrating experience.

The penultimate game in the collection is Goal, Goal, Goal, released in 1995, this is one of the few games I’d played previously and the only true sports title in the collection. a standard “Arcade Soccer” game, you get to choose form a selection of popular (and not so popular) footballing nations as you work your way through the cup, starting with 3 group matches and then onto the knockout stages (although losing a group match will require another continue, so think yourself lucky your not sinking quarters into the slot for this one).

It’s a fun football game, passing is a little slow, so you end up playing like a Sam Allerdyce team and smashing it up front to the forwards, but there’s some nice touches such as charged shots, overhead kicks and decent predictability on the movemebt of your players when making a slide tackle. The downside is, the game automatically switches between players when you don’t have the ball which means you’ll often have trouble working out which midfielder you’re controlling and then by the time you figure it out the opponent is already baring down on your defense, it’s a small niggle in what’s overwise a fun football game, which can also be enjoyed by two players both on and offline.

Finally another game from the mid 90’s with Neo Drift Out, released in 1996 this top-down / isometric-view rally game, follows the usual task of hitting checkpoints or the finishing line within the allotted time.

The camera view is fairly close and there’s no map, so you’ll be relying on co-pilot commands popping up on screen to let you know about upcoming corners, it actually works well and gives a spontaneous feel to the races, and while as you progress those checkpoints feel a little too much of a challenge, especially when you’ve got large obstacles to avoid and some crazy turns to get used to, there’s the old arcade push to play again and again until you can memorise sections of the track and slowly improve until you progress to the next race.

So with a quick overview of all 7 games, it’s fair to say the Visco Colleciton isn’t the best arcade compilation, all games look good and run well, as you’d expect from arcade emulation or ports that are over 20 years old, despite the undersized screen area which might leave people on smaller screens wishing that the 4:3 aspect would better utilise the height of the screem and there’s decent manual pages to show you what’s what with each game, though I would have prefered Xbox controller buttons to be shown, rather than trying to memorise which button is relative to A, B or C… it’s a small ask, and something Antsream manages for hundred and hundreds of games, but Visco couldn’t do it for 7 titles.

So Visco certainly won’t be stealing the limelight from Antstream Arcade which offers not just a few better options, but possibly dozens of games that are as good, if not considerably better for each genre covered. Antstream does cost a little more (£30 for a year or almost 3x more for lifetime access) and it also requires an online connection, but for retro arcade enthusiasts it’s a much, much better offering.

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If you’re only after a smaller compilation, then Visco Collection might be worth consideration, but for me, from the 7 titles, it’s really only Goal, Goal, Goal and Neo Drift Out that stand out, and Andro Dunos and Bang Bead as titles that I could see myself spending any real time with.
I really can’t see people really investing themselves into more than 3-4 titles, which drastically reduces the overall value.
At £16.74 it’s also considerably more expensive than I like to see for old Arcade collections, the fantastic Arcade Paradise costs less and for me provided far, far more hours of entertainment and if you’re after sheer numbers or popular titles, then you should already have Antstream Arcade.

It’s unfair to be to harsh on the Visco Collection purely because the competition is so strong, but with only 3-4 stand-out games, it’s hard to recommend the package at full price.

Visco Collection – Review

Review by Lee Palmer



It’s unfair to be to harsh on the Visco Collection purely because the competition is so strong, but with only 3-4 stand-out games, it’s hard to recommend the package at full price.


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